Underfoot – a new haibun by Gerald England


After tea I notice the magpie again. It is on the driveway, looking around. It waddles up to the rose tree which has a number of hips visible  among the branches. It turns, crosses the footpath and on to the lawn.

Before disappearing into the bottom of the hedge, it pauses and looks up at the willow tree.

I spend some time on the computer. Around 8pm I am reminded that I haven't yet put the wheelie-bin out for the binmen who come tomorrow. Looking out, I see that it is still pouring down with rain. I gather up the household rubbish into plastic bags and park them by the front door, hoping the rain will ease off.

Just before midnight, I put on my anorak,  collect the bags and take them out to the bin which I then wheel to the end of the drive.

in the dark
crunch and crack of snails
under my boot

Didn't see them guv', honest. In the dim light I saw a dozen or more objects across the driveway.  Rosehips dropped by the magpie, I surmised. Only the cold light of day reveals reality.

• Gerald England, as writer and editor, has been around on the small press scene for almost forty years. His website is at www.geraldengland.co.uk/ and his personal blog is http://ackworthborn.blogspot.com

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